Rewritten - My Love Come.

She Come and Go
Well, first I wrote a poem about a girl who came in and out of my life for years. Later I illustrated the poem with my photos. I took the pictures for you so you could see the images in my mind when I went through this happy/sad love story. Also if you don’t like the poem, you may like the photos of Vermont. Then I thought it would be good to write a short story about our first meeting. Then I decided to send all this out for you to read. I wrote an explanation of the situation below so you could understand all this better. An eight year old girl named Patricia tiptoed into my existence when I was nine and hugged me. Hugged. That is a funny sounding word that doesn’t have much impact. - Big deal? We touched our bodies together. Then some magic happened. Sure you say, maybe it was childish silliness but it changed our lives. Our parents were kind of dysfunctional so for us, in our lonely lives, it was the first time we experienced love. That had impact. It was totally innocent. It was not sexual except in the sense that maybe even little kids have some kind of hazy idea of the feeling of attraction. But neither of us knew anything about sex. Later I was to realize that our ignorance made the experience better, far better. Seeing the world alone is a numbing experience. Suddenly there was someone to share the world with. I wanted to take her to all my favorite places along the Vermont stream and show her all the boulders in mid stream on which I had sat alone and watched the sun set. I wanted to show her where we could stand on top of a certain boulder at the top of a mountain and have a view of the distant winding stream cutting through patchy green fields of grass and brush cut in jagged pieces by miles of gray stonewalls. Our innocence did not last forever. When we were teenagers, we were mystified by a totally new expansion of our love. You know what I mean. At some point, our bodies felt different when they were near each other. As we touched, the world seemed to get hazy. Our hands suddenly had magic when we touched each other. I will tell you more about that later perhaps but it is a long story. We were together constantly until she went to college. My grandfather and parents had died. I got my grandfather’s life insurance money insurance and I expanded the family farm. I had thought it would be our farm, hers and mine, there in that countryside that we loved very much. I did not understand why she wanted to go away to school when all we ever needed was right there in Vermont. But she was her own person and she said she wanted to learn about other places, city things and knowledge of stuff that I thought was second place to the beauty of nature. She wanted to study astronomy. I loved looking up at the stars but why, I thought, do you have to know everything about all about them? I had to let her go because she was going whether I liked it or not. I did not cry all through our last night together. Nor did she. But when I hit the bed, I cried like an

abandoned infant. Suddenly, I felt totally alone. Nothing else mattered. I could not think of any reason to ever get out of bed again. If it hadn’t been for the sounds of hungry farm animals in the morning, I think I would have just stayed in bed. And after all, she was coming back. She said she was coming back. She was only down in New Jersey at Princeton. After she left, the weeks went by and every day was the same. The cows and chickens don’t celebrate the Sabbath and don’t act any different that day. I worked hard to create a paradise for her to come home to. I wrote her long letters almost every day trying to sound happy. But no letters came. I asked her family if she was all right. They said yes. They acted so sympathetic to me that I could not stand to ask any questions. I was sad most of the time but also mystified. Maybe she was thrilled by learning new and wonderful things. Maybe (God forbid) she had a boy friend. Here is one letter I wrote her. It was so important to me at that time that I wrote out a copy of it before I mailed it. I found it the other day. Dear Pat, I don’t know why you haven’t sent me a single letter but I know there must be a reason. I am totally at a loss to figure out why you haven’t written but I know you will write soon. I try to make excuses for you – for why you haven’t written but none of them make any sense. I don’t know how to live without you. I want you to know that whatever it is that you are going through, it is all right. I understand and know there is some reason. But please write soon. After five weeks went by, I marveled that I was still able to function. My faith in her began to falter. Maybe she did not love me. But life went on. I worked my heart out feeding the cows and pigs, cleaning out the stalls, cutting and bailing the hay. Sometimes I wondered why I was working so hard. If there was no Pat, there was no life. A couple of days before Thanksgiving, I was in the barn toward the end of the day. A cow had just given birth to a calf. She was having a hard time and I helped by pulling at the legs of the calf to get her out of the birth canal. The cow was on her side. I sat in the stall in the hay and I pulled and pulled desperately. Time was running out for this poor calf. Finally I pulled her out and quickly shoved my fingers in the calves mouth and nose to make sure they were clear. I wiped the sack away with my hands. I took a deep breath. Then I realized I was being watched. It was Pat. I looked up at her leaning on the gate of the stall. She smiled and said, “Good job cowboy. You are truly amazing. Now do you have enough energy to take a bath and make love to a city girl from a high faluttin’ school?” I wasn’t about to ask her why she didn’t write. “I don’t need no bath,” I teased looking down at my slimy hands.

“Well I’ll put you in the tub and scrub you down with a scrub brush,” she said. “My skin is too tender for a brush,” I said. “I’ll use my gentle hands,” she said and she stared me using the eyes that had sly smiles. I staggered up from the floor. No…..right then, I was not about to ask her why she hadn’t written. I tormented myself thinking that she did not love me. The doubt was always there gnawing like a beaver at the trunk of a tree. I tried to believe her but I caught myself wondering, imagining the worst. Perhaps there was someone else. That was the beginning of a new direction in life. She came. She left for a while. She came back again. She left and didn’t come back for quite a while. But she came again. She left and returned soon. There was no pattern, nothing I could depend on. I tried to give up counting days. I tried to going out with other girls but I thought of her the whole night. People would see me mope into town and try to fix me up with their cousins. But none of them were anything like her. I was stuck forever and I knew it. I vowed that somehow I would be happy. But I had to figure out how. She came in and out of my life over the years. She always disappeared and then suddenly (it seemed) appeared when I least expected her. She would knock on the door and when I opened it, she would rush to kiss me like she had never left. Whenever she returned, she never explained where she disappeared to or what she was doing. I would say something general like,"What have you been doin’?” And she would smother my words with passionate kissing. We made love as though it was irrelevant that she was gone for so long a time. Maybe that is exactly what she wanted me to think. Where did she go when she left? Was she married? Where did she live? As I plowed or bailed hay – whatever I was doing, I made up elaborate stories about how maybe she was a scientist who discovered new medicines? Maybe she was married and had children? Maybe, she was the CEO of her own business? Maybe she was an investment banker? Anything was possible. One thing I knew was she had money, lots of money. I had two bad years in a row on the farm. One year, I was raising thousands of chickens and they just up and died. The vet said it was some kind of virus. The next year, I decided to concentrate on growing corn. Everything was great until the end of summer when it rained for two straight weeks at the end of fairly wet summer. The corn rotted on the stalks. My tractor got stuck in mud and I burned out the engine trying to get it out. I was dead in the water. I was planning on selling the farm. Then she came at Thanksgiving and as usual left after a week or so. Then a while later, I got a call from White River Junction. “Come pick up the new tractor.”

“What the hell you talking about. You crazy or something?” I hung up on him. He called back and said he was sorry. He thought I knew. Arrangements were made and everything was all paid for by my aunt. I didn’t even have an aunt. She sent a check. It took some convincing but I went to town and sure enough, I had me a new tractor. I didn’t tell him I didn’t have an aunt. Pat never did admit it but I knew… Even as we got older, it was as though we were teenagers again each time we met. When she left, I always tried to relive our love - It was like a dream upon awakening that escapes all the more as you try to remember it. It was so intangible that sometimes I doubted that her coming back was reality. I decided many times that I would write down everything we did and what we said so I could read it after she left and know it was reality. I always started writing but it was useless. I always gave up. I tried to remember how she kissed….her touch. She took on the aura of an imaginary being – an angel that dropped out of the sky. Was she even real? Was I insane? I took out my camera many times to take her picture. “No photos,” she said, ”You can not grab this moment and store it in a picture for later.” “I just want to look at your picture when you are gone,” I offered. “When you look at my picture, I will be no less “gone”. As a matter of fact the picture will make me seem farther “gone.” Be here now. Can’t you just focus on now without trying to save it for later?” So I never took many pictures. I had no picture of her except our high school yearbook picture. In that picture, she looked serious and studious. I wrote a poem about this experience. If you keep reading, you will read the poem. I wasn’t much of one for fancy poetry or writing poetry. I didn’t like the sing song moonin-June fancy stuff. I just wrote in plain English how I felt. I felt better getting it all down on paper so I could look at our story. In the poem, I portrayed summer time as love time…Warm and alive …. Then when she left, it was like winter would come. Cold. The cold changed the landscape of my life. Everything lost its color like when the leaves fall and the ground is covered with white. Monochrome….. Life went from color to black and white. You look at a picture of a lush living landscape. And then you see it in the fall. No color. Just gray - Everything gray and seemingly dead.. Yet you know that underneath that dreary frigid deadness is life that will explode again. That was what life was like with her. She would appear and the earth would blossom like when wet dirt fields shove up green grass and colored flowers. It was then I wanted to ask, ”Why do you go away?” In the poem, the snow covering the ground made it impossible to remember that Spring was still underneath. She was still there somewhere. She still existed and would come back.

Then when she showed up at the front door – Let me explain it this way….Did you ever go through a long Winter and then one day unexpectedly, and it was 65 degrees and sunny? The air smelled of Spring and you just wanted to scream with joy. That’s how it was. So in the poem, to portray the way I could not picture her, I described how all the distinct shapes of the farm and the country side were covered with a cold blanket of white death. I looked at the landscape but where stone walls had been; there was just smooth rises in the snow (just little damnable rises.) The streams were frozen over. Life stopped. What did Spring look like? I couldn't remember. Would Spring ever come again? At least I knew Spring would always come again but I couldn’t even be sure she would come again. It was like looking at her with clothes on – knowing that underneath was her naked body. Her bare skin and shapes were hidden under damn clothing. After a while I could not even picture what she looked like, let alone imagine the stark reality of her naked beauty. It was if my mind was frozen dumb and my memory of her image was blinded by a snow storm streaked my world with white lines. There must have been someone in your life that you felt this way about... someone who had the key to your most inner self... to something deep in your soul. Only that particular person could reach that far into your being and touch you with such intensity. It was a very, very great thing. But sad in ways. “It would not always be so,” I always asked myself. “What if she stopped coming?” I could not bear the thought that one of us might die. If she did not come, I would wait forever…Or if something happened to me, she would knock at the door and I would not be there. Love was for as long as she was there in my arms. Below you will find the story of our first night. I want to give it to you because I am not going to read it anymore. I want to read it but it makes me sad….And I have read it again and again and cried again and again. No more. Please take it and read it and then burn it. Also after that is the poem that I spent years writing and rewriting. It says what I already told you but it says it like a poem (I hope.)
Our First Night - The Awakening She was Patricia, the mysterious girl next door. She was the only child of two very strange parents who lived the lives of recluses. They lived in a very old sagging faded dilapidated fifty foot trailer overgrown with brush. In back of their property was the relic, the skeleton of a huge century old Georgian colonial that stood as testament to the wealth of her mother’s deceased family. They had sold off all but the five acres of a 1200 acre diary farm. They eked out a living growing corn and making moonshine. They sold whatever they did not drink to the local impoverished native Yankee farmers in the county.

People said they drank a lot and beat their daughter and their animals. Patricia didn’t go to kindergarten. People said her mother told the school officials she already knew how to read. Her mother said when she read to Pat, she had the habit of pointing to words with her finger when she read. Unbeknownst to her mother, Pat had taught herself to read. The principal didn’t believe it until she brought Pat in to the school. The principal gave her a first grade book. She read it almost perfectly. The principal said she must be a child prodigy. That fact fascinated me. I lived next to a child prodigy. I wondered what a child prodigy was like. I really didn’t have much of an idea of what it would be like to be a genius. Prior to first grade, all I saw of her was a tiny figure in the distance always out working in the fields. Now and then, I would see her father walk toward her and sometimes, when the wind was blowing toward our farm, I could hear the faint sound of shouting. One time, I could swear I saw him slap her head and then I couldn’t see her. Had he slapped her so hard, he knocked her down? Until I was age 7, I never saw her up close but once. I had gone to the local country store with my mother. I had just gone to the end of an aisle and turned quickly to walk down the next aisle. I almost bumped into her. We both jumped back surprised. Then we stood face to face staring with wonder at each other. Her face had such fine features; she looked just like a doll. Our eyes seemed locked as we peered into each other as though looking for something. It seemed like we were both thinking, “So this is what the kid next door looks like….” I stammered, “I’m sorry…I didn’t see you.” She said,”That’s OK.” There were a few moments of very loud silence. I had the feeling that we were both trying to think of something to say. Then her father’s voice alarmed her, “Patricia, where the hell are you?” She looked embarrassed, did a quick about face and disappeared. I dreamed of her. In every dream we always were walking in the fields and the woods. Something would always happen to me - like I would fall down and cut my leg. She would be very concerned and look at my wound, put a band aid on me and take care of me. She sat next to me and read a book without pictures to me. I didn’t listen to the story but I liked her voice. I remember it sounded like she was singing. Then in every dream, something interrupted whatever was happening. A voice would call scream her name or my parents would come in the room and she had to leave. I wanted her to stay. I felt sad when she left. A while after the meeting in the store, her father pulled a wagon full of corn along the border between our property. He over used the whip on the poor old horse. The old nag seemed like she was trying very hard to maintain a good pace but he snapped the whip now and then anyway. When you grow up with horses, you can read their faces. I could see terror all over that horse’s face. I hated him. As the wagon went passed, I saw her on the back of the wagon facing backwards, her legs hanging off the buck board swinging with the motion of the wagon. Her face turned downward away from the view of the blue sky and beautiful white thunder head clouds left over from a distant storm. Her long dark brown hair draped down and covered her face. The way her limp body swayed with the wagon, it almost looked like she was asleep. Her faded white shirt looked too small. She was very thin. She looked like a rag doll propped up in the back of the wagon. She caught a glimpse of me looking at her and almost jumped to kill the slump and sit up straight. She attempted to smile but she only managed a tired grin. She waved her hand once in a half circle.

I looked at her, realizing too late to erase the sad look on my face. Nevertheless, I forced a slight smile and returned the half circle wave. She shyly and it seemed, sadly turned her head back down toward the dirt road again. Who was this girl who looked so miserable? What was her life like, I wondered? Was it as bad as I imagined? One day in the mid day sun, I saw her raking near the border between out property. I crouched and snuck up on her. “Past,” I said, “Com’ere.” She startled and looked toward her shanty farmhouse in fear. “I can’t.” she said, “My father watches me and if I stop working, he….I mean I ….get in trouble.” “Well keep working and we can talk.” “What do you want to talk about?” she asked. “I don’t want to talk about anything in particular. I just wanted to say hello… I mean we have been neighbors all our lives and never even talked. Aren’t we supposed to be friends,” I asked. “I don’t have time for friends during the day because I am always doin’ chores “ she said. “but maybe I can meet you someplace sometime when I stop working.” “What time are you talking about…. and where?.” “How about tonight – like at 8:00 after my father passes… I mean, falls asleep.” I pointed to a distant hill. “Follow out fence over there and I will sit down somewhere along the fence and met you and lead you to my favorite place a bluff overlooking the stream.” “Okay, “ she said in an anxious voice, “Are there any bears out there?” “Hardly any,” I replied with a laugh,”But they are as afraid of you as you of them…unless you mess with their cubs.” “Isn’t it really dark out there? Do you have a flash light,” she asked. “Because of daylight saving time, it will still be light. I think there is at least a half moon tonight even if the sun starts goin’ down” At 7:55 PM, she came hesitantly down the path looking down now and then like she was afraid she was going to step on a snake. “Follow me,” is all I said. The peak was my favorite spot. The stream passed through miles of pasture. Then the stream hit rock ledge and carved out a huge swath of earth. Past the rapids was a slow moving wide cut of deep water that curved through distant woods and pastures to the south. A 20 foot cliff overlooked the frigid water. On top of the cliff, I had cleared out a circle of brush and a spot for a camp fire. I made a stone wall surrounding the area. I had come there earlier and started a fire. There was one grassy spot to lie down on to look at the stars. In front of the fireplace, I had made a four foot long bench out of saplings and hay. “This is so magical,” she said when she got there. “It is like a fairy land.”

“I made it myself, “I said proudly, adding, “I want to show you something cool about this place. We can jump from here off this cliff 20 feet down to the stream.” I pointed to the jumping spot. I continued, ”All we have to do is stand way back and get a running start so we can make it over the jagged rocks and into the stream.” “YOU can get a running start, “ she said definitively, adding, “I’ll wait here? Too scary - You can do it all you want.” With a smile, I assured her “You will be flying with me someday.” I stepped back to the starting point and took off my clothes saying apologetically, “Sorry – Can’t get my clothes wet.” She laughed and put her hand to her mouth demurely, “Oh my God! I don’t believe you. You are so crazy.” I streaked past her and jumped off the bluff. When I climbed back up the bluff, I quickly put my clothes back on and approached her. I asked, “Did you see that? Can you imagine how much fun that is?” “I can only imagine the fear,” she asserted She looked around. “You know – This is a good place to play pretend,” she said gleefully. She looked up. The campfire lit up the trunks of trees making them look like huge columns. The branches hanging out from the trees seem to form a roof. “Pretend what? “ I asked, hoping she wasn’t going to ask me to play house or something girlie. “I don’t know, “she answered, “I’ll think of something.” I didn’t know what she was talking about but I didn’t really like the idea of pretending. “I know,” she said, “This clearing looks like a house. Let’s pretend we are a family. I’ll be your daughter and you be my father.” “How can I be your father? I’m just a kid, ” I asked. “It’s pretend, silly. You don’t have to be older, really. You pretend!” She said emphatically. I looked at her a little mystified. She said, “I’ll pretend I’m sick and you come in the house and take care of me. I’ll sit over there and you come in through the door.” She pointed at the pathway that led into the square area I had enclosed with the stone wall. “OK, what exactly am I supposed to do?” I asked. “Walk in and I’ll be sick in bed and you came in to my room and put your hand on my forehead to see if I have a temperature. You ask me how I am and put me to bed and tell me a story.” “What story? I don't know any story.” “Anything,” she replied,”You'll think of something” She walked over and sat down on the floor of the imaginary house. “I'll be here sick and you walk in the door over there, “She pointed to where the door was supposed to be. I really didn't like this game but I said.” Okay, I'll give it a try.”

I walked in the door and stopped and looked down on her. “You look sick. Are you all right,” I said bending down to feel her forehead. I added, “I think you have a fever.” She pretended to be sick by lying down and letting her arms hang lifelessly at her side. I did detect a smile on her face as she watched me act out my part. “I don't feel good. My throat hurts and I have a headache,” she said. I tried to think of what my mother asked me when I was sick “Are you dizzy or are you feeling really tired?“ I asked. “Yeah, first I feel hot and then I feel really cold.” “You should be resting. I'll put you to bed,” I said. “Can you carry me to bed, “ she asked. I spoke in my own voice to indicate I was speaking out of the story and said, “Hey I'm just a kid. I am really not your father, you know, and I don't think I am strong enough to pick you up.” “I'm just a skinny girl, “ she objected. “You can pick me up.” “Okay, I'll see if I can,” I responded begrudgingly. She was fairly light and I was able to pick her up. It helped that she put her arm around my neck and held on. Still I stumbled with her weight and almost dropped her. Her face was very close to mine. She looked at me with laughing eyes and a smile, giggling at the difficulty I was having. “It's not funny,” I said, but I also had a hard time stopping myself from laughing. I carried her over to the camp fire and laid her down on the straw I had put there. “I'll tell you a story.” I said but I had no idea what story I would tell her. “I don't want to lie down, “I want to sit next to you and put my head on your shoulder and you put your arm in back of me.” “Okay,” I said,” but I don't really have a story to tell you. “Just say, ‘Once upon a time,’ and then make up something,” she said. She made it sound like it would be easy so I said, “Once upon a time…..” I paused. She waited. She smiled with anticipation as though I was going to spin a fantastic yarn. I figured it if I opened my mouth maybe words would pop out. I repeated,” Once upon a time” and then much to my surprise I said,”A boy and a girl lived on farms next to each other. Their parents made them work really hard and they hated being on their farms. So one day the boy said to the girl, ’Let's run away.’ Suddenly she asked, ”And what happened to our story? Remember the boy and girl are running away?” “OK. Oh yeah…. the story… He asks the girl if she wants to run away….She says okay and they gathered together some of their clothes, and a few knives and forks and pots and pans and a jack knife and fishing poles and went into the forest.” Both of them unconsciously assumed that the story was really about themselves but they did not want to acknowledge it.

“Aren't they going to take some kind of plates and glasses?” she asked. “Yeah, okay they take plates and glasses… Well make it plastic plates and glasses – They’re lighter. Anyway when they get in the woods, they’re very happy that they had brought some bread and peanut butter and they had that for dinner. “They swam in the stream and the boy showed the girl how to jump off a bluff into the water.” She looked directly at him and shook her head “no” but did not interrupt him. “When the night came, it was very, very dark. They were afraid to walk anywhere. It was also a little cold that night and they heard strange noises of animals moving all around them.” “How about we … I mean …. they build a log cabin?” she asked. “First we better build a tree fort or find a cave to live in because it takes a long time to build a log cabin…….” “I don't like caves,” she said, “They have too many snakes.” Well, they can make friends with a wolf or a bobcat and he can eat all the snakes,” I said. We kept going on and on, adding and agreeing on more and more details until we had a fairly elaborate story. At one point she asked me,” Do you really want to run away?” “This story is not about us,” I said. “Well,” she said,” It is and it isn't….. Don’t you think?” “Well, in a way,” I said, adding, “It could be about us” “So do you want to run away?” Pat asked him. “Sometimes I do. Sometimes I think I would like to sneak on a train and go somewhere – anywhere. When I get far away and they catch me, maybe I could say I don’t know where my home is or who my parents were and somebody would adopt me,” I said. “I don’t think it would work. Your parents would report you missing and the police would match you with the missing kid,” Pat said. “I don’t think I would do it anyway but I like to think about it?” he said. “Why would you want to run away anyway?” she asked. “I hate this town and I hate my school. It’s hard to make friends … I sort of don’t know what to say when I talk to other kids …..And the older kids pick on the younger kids. It’s horrible. Like me – They pick on me.” “What do they do to you?” I sighed and answered,” Stupid stuff…. like the take my lunch and everything else I have like my pencils and paper. They push me around, trip me. The other day, this big kid, Bud tried to push my head into the toilet bowl.” “What? Why would they do something like that?” she asked. “I don’t know. Ya’ never know what they’re going to do. It’s stupid. The horrible thing is they pick on me more than anyone.” “Why you?” she asked,

“They think I’m the teacher’s pet. She thinks I’m smart and she has me teach some of the older kids. They don’t like that. They call me Dumbo.” “Dumbo!” she exclaimed, ”Why Dumbo? ” “Dumbo was the Walt Disney cartoon character – a flying elephant that had ears so big he could fly. They do say my ears are big,” I responded. I added, ”I guess they are a little big.” “What?” she exclaimed, “That is so stupid! And if they were big, so what?” She looked at him and added,”And they aren’t … I mean you have short hair so your ears look like they stick out a little but they aren’t big.” “I dunno. I’ve looked in the mirror and they seem kinda’ big to me,” I answered. It was the truth. I spent a lot of time looking in the mirror at my ears from every angle. The whole time I wished I had normal ears. “Oh my God! Don’t tell me they have you believing this?” “Well, sort of. And I have freckles.… a lot of freckles.” “Freckles…, ”she said as though she was again amazed, “Don’t tell me you think you have too many freckles?” “Well, kind of. I do have a lot…and they are kinda dark and stand out. Not like some kid's freckles. I hate them. I can see them in the mirror,” I answered, sounding a little sad. “Ridiculous! You are a kid. Kids are supposed to have freckles. I think they’re cute. A lotta people think freckles are cute.” He smiled slightly. “You think so?” I asked,”Really?” “Yes really,” she said. She stared into his eyes as though daring him to think otherwise. I sat there w about what she said. “Don’t the kids you teach appreciate the help you give them?” she asked. “Yeah, they do in a way. But some of them don’t like being taught by a kid in a grad lower than them. Maybe it makes them feel dumb. I dunno…..I have friends… but what bothers me is that they almost seem to go along with the bullying. They laugh at me along with the bullies. It kind of bothers me. There supposed to be my friends and then they laugh at me.” “That’s just the way kids are. They probably don’t realize that how bad you feel,” she asserted. “And you can’t expect them to stand up to the bullies. They are just silly little kids. They don’t know what you are going through. And they are just as afraid of the bullies as you.” Again there was a period of silence. I felt like I was being scolded but at the same time, I felt relieved that she was probably right. She looked at me as though daring me to contradict her. I stood there, averting my eyes” “And you,” she said looking at me accusingly,”Do you stand up for other kids when they are bullied?” “Umm…” “Umm … Ummm… Umm” she repeated mockingly. “Well spit it out. Do you stand up for other kids when they are bullied?” “Well, no not really…, It wouldn’t do much good anyway.”

“That’s what the other people say when you are picked on,” she said. After a moment, she said, “Would you dislike some one for having freckles? And suppose you did have big ears and suppose freckles were funny looking… Do you really think anyone else cares?” “Well…” I started to say but she interrupted. “My grand father taught me some thing before he passed away. I think he knew that I was going to get a hard time from kids someday…. being the only Chinese looking kid in this little town with everyone knowing my mother wasn’t married to my real father and all… Anyway he said in situations where you are picked on, you should say, ’That’s me and if you don’t like it, fuck you.’“ I suddenly looked up at her. I was shocked. Kids weren’t supposed to use language like that. I didn’t know what the word “fuck” meant but I knew it was bad. She added,”Do you know what I mean?” “Yes,” I replied sheepishly. I wanted to believe that she was right. She continued,”Would you want to be friends with someone who didn’t like someone because they had freckles or big ears?” “No”, I answered.” Not at all.” “Do you think I would care if you had too many freckles or big ears?” she said with a laughing smile. “No, I don’t think you would,” I answered. “Would you dislike me if I had freckles and big ears?” she asked. “Only a little bit,” I said. “What?” she said loudly. I smiled and said,”Just joking.” She looked at me a little angry and a little embarrassed that she fell for my joke. I paused and asked,”Can I ask you a strange question.” “Sure,” she said, “Anything.” “How do you know so much?“ I asked, adding,” You talk like my teacher, only smarter. Why didn’t some adults tell me this?” “Did you tell them about how you were picked on and how you felt?” “No,” I answered,”I was kind of ashamed of the whole thing.” “We’ll if you told them, they probably would have said the same thing.” “I don’t know. Somehow, you seem to be awful smart,” I replied. “Well my grand father told me alotta things. And he did say that he was glad that I understood. He used to say, ’Patricia, I think you are 7 going on 70.’ I don’t mean to be braggin’. Does it sound like I’m braggin’ too much?” I shook my head in amazement,”No, if you’re smart then it isn’t bragging. It’s just true. You are smart…. Just plain damn smart,”I said trying out how it felt to use a cuss word.

“You know you aren’t the first to say that. Alotta people say that.” She smiled and added,”You won’t hold that against me, will you?” “No, I kinda like it. .. But what is it like being so smart.” “Funny… It is kinda funny. Sometimes I say things to people and they look at my funny Then sometimes they ask, “How old are you, anyway?’ “ I thought about what she said and was pretty sure I would like to be that smart. I thought for a second looking off in the deep cold darkness and thought of telling her the real reason I wanted it run away I didn't want to tell her. My parents were great most of the time but both of them, especially my father drank too much. It really bothered me when he got one of his angry moods and lost his temper and argued with my mother and got violent. I asked,”What about you? Do you ever think of running away?” She looked at me as though she was going to speak but said nothing. Then after a moment, she held her finger to her lips as if to say “Quiet.” Then as though very unsure of herself she asked,”If I tell you a secret, will you promise not to tell anyone ever?” “Yes I promise.” I said adding, “I like secrets. I am really good at keeping them too.” I thought to myself – I have a few too. “Well, I’ve thought of running away too. It's my father. He drinks a lot… a real lot. And my mother, well she is really nice and all but she’s quiet and hardly goes anywhere, She’s always sad. She spends a lot of time in the bedroom sleeping. Something is wrong with her but I don’t know what. I think it might be because of him but I don’t know.” I smiled at her as though I was going to laugh. She looked surprised that I smiled. “What are you smiling at?” she asked angrily. “Well I just thought it was kind of funny that you are so afraid of telling me that secret and guess what?” “What are you talking about?” she asked. “Both my parents drink too much, especially my father. I don't mean to laugh, but the whole situation is funny in a certain sense. It is coincidental that you tell me your secret and it turns out that I have been hiding the same secret,” I said, adding,”I never told anyone.” “Are you just making this up?” she asked incredulously. “No, it’s true. Really. And it not too surprising in this part of the country when you think of it. My friend’s father always says, ‘In the winter in Vermont there’s so much snow that there is nothing to do but drink and beat your wife.” I looked at her. She didn’t laugh. I could tell she was thinking. “One good thing is that you know what I’m goin’ through and I know what you’re goin’ through,” she said slowly in a serious way. ”I never told anybody about that and I never talked about it with anyone…. Boy, I could tell you some stories you wouldn't believe,” I said. “I don't think you could beat my stories,” she said with a knowing certainty. “My father came home one night and when he pulled the car in the barn, he drove right through a cow stall and then the outer wall. Killed the poor cow,” I said.

“That ain't nothing,” she said. I thought of something worse. “He threw an empty bottle at my mother. Fortunately he missed her but it broke the front window,” I said. What she said next was a shocker. “Listen to this one, and please don’t ever tell anyone about this.” Then she hesitated. “Ya know, I don’t know why I am trusting you. My mother told me never to trust anyone, especially a boy. But there is something about you… I don’t know what it is about you that makes me trust you.” Again she paused and then said,”One day my father, mother and I got into the truck and went on that highway toward Hanover. I had to pee but I was afraid to ask him to stop somewhere because he always got mad at me if I asked him to stop. So I told him that my doll Polly had to pee. It was dumb but I was younger then and it made sense to me. He started yelling at me that Polly was just a stupid doll. I started crying. He grabbed Polly by the hair rolled down the front window and threw her out onto the highway. When he did that, he took his eyes off the road and went head on into a car with a family in it.” I cringed. I didn't know what to say. She continued the story. “My father had a broken arm. My mother and I were okay except for some cuts on our faces. That's how I got the scar here above my lip,” she said pointing her little finger to a scar that ran from her lip up to her nose. A little girl around the same age as me was in the other car. Her body lay on the road like a bloody pile of rags…..” She stopped talking. I thought she was going to start crying. I waited. I didn’t know what to say. After what seemed like a long time, she continued, “Her sister was injured too. Her face and hair were bloody. She saw her sister’s body. She was crying and screaming like crazy. It was so loud that I still can’t get it out of my mind.” She did not seem to be looking in my direction anymore. She stared straight ahead into the darkness as though the scene was projected in front of her. “Sometimes, in the day out in the fields or at night when I am in bed…It can happen anytime …. I hear a faint noise. Sometimes it turns out to be some sounds from the radio or a squeaky door but to me I think it is the screaming …a tiny young girl far away shrieking in horror. “I have dreams and I see the pile of bloody rags again and again and hear the shrieking. I wake up and my heart is pounding. I tell myself that it is over, not here and now anymore… it is gone. Gradually my heart slows and I breathe without fear but I know that it is not gone. It will come back…. Again and again.” Again she was silent looking out at the darkest part of the sky. Her eyes were open wide but tears dripped down her face. She ignored the tears. I wanted to wipe away the tears but I was afraid of being so forward and familiar with her Without lifting her head she said,”All this because of him and his drinking. A little girl was here on earth and now she is gone.” Then she said as if amazed, “Gone.” I tried to think of something to say but everything I thought of seemed so empty. What was I supposed to say? I wasn’t smart like her, I figured By instinct, I said, “I’m sorry for you.”

She turned toward me like a person waking up from a dream. She attempted to smile when she said,”That is sweet of you to say that.” Tears continued splashing down onto her dirty threadbare shirt, mixed with the dust and turned the white shirt brown where the drops fell. I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to ask about but I said,”Didn’t your father get arrested?” ”He should have been,” she said emphatically,” but he was taken away in the ambulance. The police hardly saw him. It turned out he had only minor injuries. When they asked him what happened, he said he dropped a cigarette in his lap and took his eyes off the road trying to grab it. The police believed him. Then she looked right into my eyes, “And he is not my father, not my real father. He is my stepfather. Thank God I am not related to him…..That’s why I look oriental?” “Yes, “ I said, “You look kinda’ cool. I kinda’ like the oriental look you have.” “Well this oriental look sure ain’t from my mother or step father.” “Where is your father?” I said, wondering if that was too personal a question. “If I told you, you would laugh, “ she answered “Why?” I asked? ”Because he is on the other side of the world. He’s in China, a world away. He was the son of a some big deal rich Chinese guy. He was going to school at Dartmouth. My mother met him at a bar and went out with him for a long time. When he graduated, he went back to China. Then I was born.” “Have you or your mother heard from him?” “No. My mother said she heard from him until she re-married. He knows I was born. I guess he’s kind of shy about contacting her now. Maybe, he’s married,” she answered. Then she added as though bothered by the question or upset about the situation, “I don’t know… Sometimes I picture him driving up in a fancy car. I get in and he hugs me and takes me away. But it won’t happen. He’s out of the picture.” “I’m sorry. I guess it’s none of my business,” I apologized. “It’s OK. You know all my secrets now.” She paused. She continued, “Do you believe in fate?” “What do you mean?” I asked. I was sure what she was asking me. I wasn’t sure if she said eight or bait. I never heard the word “fate before. “Fate is when something happens that is meant to be. Like God made something happen because he wanted it to happen.” “I’m not sure what you mean,” I said apologetically. “Okay. What I mean is - Isn’t it funny how we got thrown together by chance in this particular place in Vermont. I mean here I am on one farm and you are right next door. Is that just an accident? And we seem to be able to talk to each other as though we knew each other for a long time…. It is as though we were meant to met… and to be together, to be friends. So how were we lucky enough to meet?” “That’s true,” I said, “We sure are alike or something. Somehow, I feel like I can talk to you. I never told anyone about my parents, but with you, I feel like I can say anything.”

“There something spooky about this. Like God did this because he wanted us to be friends. Maybe he knew we needed someone.” She hesitated and continued, “ …. I don’t have anyone to talk to…” “Well, yeah. I have two friends but I don’t feel like I can talk to them like I can with you,” I said in a shy voice, adding, “It’s like we are blood brothers… well, or I mean blood brother and sister.” “What’s that?” she asked. That made me feel good. At least I knew of some things she didn’t know about. “That’s when two people do this thing. I mean, they both make a tiny cut the tip of their fingers so they bleed and then they hold their fingers together so that their blood mixes and they are joined together by blood. That’s really how you become blood brothers.” “Really!” she almost exclaimed, “I like that … Want to do it?” “What be blood brothers?” “Sure” she answered. I fumbled in my pockets. “Well I have a jack knife…. I guess we could.” I pulled out the jack knife and showed it to her. Then I had second thoughts. “Are you sure you want to do it … I mean you would have to cut your finger,” I asked, sort of hoping she would change her mind. “Yeah, it’s OK. I don’t exactly like the idea of cutting my finger and bleeding but I want to do it.” I figured if she wasn’t scared, then I sure wasn’t going to act scared. I unfolded the blade of the knife. It was pretty dull and a little dirty. I pulled a large oak leaf off a tree and attempted to wipe off the knife. I said, “We have to sterilize it so it doesn’t give us germs. I’ll heat the tip it in the fire.” I held the knife to the flames of the fire for a minute trying not to get burned. “We better wait for the blade to cool,” I said. We both looked at the knife as though we could watch it cool. “Well, who’s first?” I asked. “I’ll be first,” she snapped back. She held out her index finger and turned her face away as though she didn’t want to watch. "You don't want to do it yourself?” I asked. “No, I trust you. You won’t hurt me” “Well, I have this twitch now and then.” I made a sudden movement with my hand as though I twitched uncontrollably. She jumped back and then she realized I was joking. She sarcastically said,” Very funny.” She looked at me as though scolding and then laughed.

“I’ll be careful,” I replied looking at her face. I was nervous that I might cut her too much so I proceeded very slowly. I held her index finger and moved the tip of the blade across the tip of her finger slowly…. No blood. “Does that hurt,” I asked. “No… Well a little ….but go ahead,” she said, “You can push harder.” I pushed harder. Suddenly she said, “Ouch.” and jerked her hand away. A drop of blood appeared and then another. “Sorry.” I said. “That’s Okay. I was just startled.” “My turn I guess,” I said. I held out my finger and I started to move the blade toward it. “No, no, no, no, no,” she said, “I'll do it. Don't you trust me? Isn't that part of the deal?” “Yes,” I lied. I was thinking to myself that she probably never held a jack knife before. I handed her the knife. She took the knife and grabbed it in her palm and held it up like she was going to suddenly stab at my hand. She stepped menacingly toward me, “Do you want me to get up over and do it with one quick stab?” By reflex, I jumped back and then noticed that she was laughing. “Gotcha back!” she said. Looking more serious, she took my finger in her little hand and quite efficiently and quickly made a perfect cut. “Now we press the tips of our fingers together, right?” she asked, adding, “And then we are related by blood.” “Yeah, sure are,” I said. “Forever?” she asked. “Forever,” I said positively. I smiled at her but I was afraid I sounded less enthused. She was into this whole thing more than me, but she fascinated me more and more each minute. She smiled. We held our hands up in at shoulder height and pressed the tips of our fingers together and held them together for 10 seconds or so and looked into each other’s faces. She had a serious look at first but then she smiled as if delighted by our ceremony. We both stared at our fingers. She looked very intense. I felt a little self conscious but her eyes captivated me and I could not help but have a slight smile because I was pleased to have some one who obviously liked me a lot. I liked the idea that I had made her so happy by going along with her ceremony. Our eyes met and I saw tears in her eyes that reaffirmed that she was taking this very seriously. When I realized how sincere she was, it seemed like a feeling went from my stomach up to my head. I felt like crying also but I'd be damned if I would cry in front of a girl. I tried not to even look like I was going to cry but the expression on my face gave me away. She looked into my face as though she was mesmerized. I think she saw my face melting. “Forever? You will love me forever, won’t you?” she asked again almost in a whisper. She asked like she very much wanted reassurance.

“Well ….yes …We will be friends forever,” I said, afraid to admit out loud anything having to do with love. I was just a little kid at the time. She seemed like she was at least a teenager. I was almost afraid of her and her strangeness. “Don't friends love each other,” she asked quietly in an almost hypnotic voice. “Yeah I suppose they do,” I replied. “Then will you love me forever?” she again asked. She looked at my face almost as though she was pleading with me to say the word love. “Yes I will,” I said. “Why don’t you say it?” she asked. “I just did,” I answered. “Don’t you feel like you love me? Can’t you just look me in the eyes and say the words,’I love you’?” She was so clever. She had picked up on the way I squiggled out of saying the three words she wanted to hear. “OK, I will say it ” I said. I hesitated and took a deep breath. “I love you.” I had never said those words before, not even to my parents. I hated to say it but I felt better having said it. What the heck? I love her and she loves me back - How could I lose? And she was pretty…. “And I now we are related by blood.” she said pleased as she moved her finger away from mine and put it in her mouth to suck off the blood. I mused,”Kind of a neat thing.” “Okay but I thought of something else…. we should put our hearts together too,” she said as though proud she thought of a new idea. “Huh,” I asked,” What do you mean?” “You press your heart to my heart. Then we are heart to heart friends…. Take off your shirt,” she said as she unbuttoned her shirt. I kind of pointed toward her questioningly. ”But you’re not supposed to….” I didn't know how to say it. “What? I can't take off my shirt?” she said in a humorous but almost mocking way “Don’t be silly. Are you going to see anything looking at me that you don't see in a mirror when you look at yourself? Besides, you are my blood brother now.” She stood in front of me with her shirt off. She had a point there. I looked at her trying to look like I was not looking at her. Like she said I did not see anything that I would not see in the mirror but still I felt funny. I took off my shirt. “Ya know - We shouldn’t really feel embarrassed,” she said, ”Remember, we are blood brother and sister and have nothing to hide anymore.” I continued looking uncomfortable but I thought her idea was kind of neat. “How do we do this heart to heart thing you were talking about,” I asked.

“I think the heart is on the left side – right here.” She pressed here right hand to the right side of her chest. “So you press the left side of your chest to the left side of my chest and our hearts will be together…. they will beat together right next to each other,” she said. I took two steps toward her. She lifted her right hand to put it on my shoulder and then reached behind my neck. Her touch startled me as if her touch had electricity and my body twitched. I was afraid she noticed. “Sorry,” I said,”I guess I am not used to being touched.” I said that and the thought flashed through my mind that it was a fact - I was not used to being touched .... That was pretty sad.” “Relax,” she said, “Look up at the sky and take a deep breath.” “What’s that supposed to do?” I asked. “”I don’t know—Isn’t that what people say when that want someone to relax?” I put my right arm behind her back. I felt so awkward. She pushed against me and squeezed hard. I was very shy and I held her loosely. ”Squeeze me hard,” she said. I did hug her but not too enthusiastically. Both of my arms were wrapped around in back of her. Her body did not feel soft but it was very warm. Maybe it was all the farm work. Her body was as hard as steel. In my silly childlike way I thought, “she’s a girl but at least she’s strong.” Harder,” she said,” our hearts have to be very close.” I consented. Finally, I guess we were close enough. As I held her, I could feel myself relax. I could feel her skin against me and I felt funny because I was sweating. I was keenly aware of the feeling of her hair on my shoulder. It seemed like I could feel the heat from her body and I could smell her. It was not a perfume or flowery or bad smell, just a unique “person smell” that made me feel warm. I started to break away. “No,” she said,”Close your eyes and hold me. See if you can feel my heart beating. Listen…” I did what she said. I was surprised that the affect it had on me. I had never held anyone like that before, never for so long a time, not that tightly, not with my eyes shut, and definitely not with my shirt off. I thought she must be able to hear my heart. Then I was sure I could feel her heart. My heart was pounding and I thought hers was too. She had her face pressed to my neck and could feel her warm breath. Her hair on my neck and chest felt warmer and warmer so it seemed. It tingled the skin of my chest. By then the summer chill had set in but she felt so warm….I felt her soft hand on my neck almost desperately trying to pull me closer. I was getting overwhelmed by all these sensations. I think I forgot where I was and what time it was. Time was passing and I lost track of it. I felt light headed, almost dizzy and was afraid I would lose my balance. I was afraid that would be embarrassing. “Have you ever hugged anyone like this before?” she whispered with her mouth right next to my ear. “No. I can't say that I have. My parents are not the hugging type.” I had the feeling that I said that too loud. I didn’t whisper like she did.

“Mine either to say the least. I think the last time my father held me was when he grabbed me and started choking me,” she said and then to my surprise, she half chuckled. There in the clearing lit by about a half of a moon and the stars, I am pretty sure I hugged her for a long time. I'm not sure how long it was. I felt like she really needed someone and to tell the truth, I felt like I needed someone too. The funny thing was….I felt almost ashamed to act that way. In the back of my head was the question I asked myself for the first time - Why are you afraid to have feelings? Why are you afraid of being touched? And then something really weird happened. I almost thought it was my imagination. Maybe it was but…. I think lightning lit up the sky. I could swear to God; it was distant heat lightning, somewhat common on summer nights, but it was lightning. Nonetheless a chill went down my spine. This did seem all too magical. I thought about what she said about fate. This was all too coincidental to be true. She leaned back and looked at my face. I wondered what she saw in my face. Did she see a boy who was afraid or did she see the boy who did finally escape the fear and allowed himself to feel love? She turned her head toward the sound of thunder and said,”Do you think that was God saying he approves?” “It may be,” I said, “It sure seems funny.” Then she leaned forward again and put her mouth near my ear and whispered as though she was telling a secret for just the two of us to hear, “Now we are approved by God - heart to heart and blood to blood. Forever heart to heart. “ My mouth was a little dry. She seemed too smart for me. I felt like she was in control of the situation. I remember thinking maybe that’s how geniuses act. She said things I could only dream of saying. This girl was unbelievable. Where did she come from? Was she some kind of angel who fell out of the sky with magical powers to enchant me? I felt like everything that happened was some kind of magic she had spun. I couldn’t believe my own ears when I said,” Forever heart to hear,” but it just seemed so natural to me now. I still felt overcome by all the sensations and these new feelings. That was our first night. Little did I know then that it was to be the first of countless nights. When I left her, I keep thinking, “Neither of us had ever been hugged before like that… Never before. Never, ever…” The words,”Never, ever” were playing rhythmically in my head like a verse of a song. The next day was exceedingly hot and humid. The cow manure stunk more than usual and swarms of flies buzzed in the barn. Our parents drank too much, screamed and acted weird. The haze of the sun trapped the heat and it hung on the steamy hot earth. The leaves of even the trees lost their shapes and wilted, hanging down limp. The cows sat in the shade of trees too tired to chew grass. The day was too long and most of the time too deadly quiet. Outside the cat sat down with the dog on the grass in the front yard. The panting dog hated the cat but just looked the other way. She was on the morning side of the line of tall oaks along our property line and I was on the afternoon side. We were close and yet seemed much too far away. I felt sure that both of us in every moment of the day were aware of the other’s presence just beyond the trees. But everything was different. Neither of us felt alone and nothing would ever be the same.

And Now the Poem

She Come. She Go. She Came. She Went. By Bruce D. Gormley circa 1973

Scene Looking at Same Farm House

She Came, She Go

Throughout Vermont on this morning, the alarms – bells, buzzers, beeps sounded their call in tens of thousands of homes. Warm feet hit the frigid floor Babies cried. Children screamed. Legs swung to the floor and everyone sat still for a while.

Then Yawns…. Hugs…. sharp yelling words….Laughter…. gentle talk. Eyes looked out to check the weather Some paused and took a second look at the sky. Hands hurried to pull on clothes and fasten for the rain or sun. Water steamed through coffee and the smell soothed the senses And made people hungry for toast, eggs and bacon. Children scurried and animals watched and waited for their food. Hats, scarves, coat, gloves, mittens Kisses goodbye. See you later.

Today I got up and sat at the edge of my bed for too long. I felt alone. It was too quiet. I wanted to make breakfast for more than just me. I wanted to talk to someone about the weather, about the news, about the aurora borealis I saw last week about anything. I was hungry not-for-breakfast-alone; I was thinking of you.

I looked down the long dirt driveway lined by aged faithful maples forming a tunnel that cuts through the fields.

The fog hung on the land still. The farm was backlit by the rising sun, Making the trees glow dark red, then pink, then pinkyellow. I looked out the front window and waited for your wonderfully-wispy figure to appear, walking as you always do when you come to me slowly (or is it idly or cautiously?) On this particular day I envisioned you in a country girl dress with pleats that fluttered in the breeze.

That Day You Came
From no where today. You seemed to drop out of the sky today. Silently you walked to me with a slow smile. Today You appeared as a tiny distant doting indistinct dot, far down the driveway. I….squinting….. Then soon I knew it was you by the way you walked slowly and smoothly although stopping now and then then seemingly gliding in soft angel steps inches off the ground. Now and then you gazed upward at the maple branches

and looked off toward the fields and the five mountains one beyond the other as though curious and wondering where (and perhaps why) you were there.

I thought I saw you hesitate once or twice You even turned around to face the space from whence you came… Then to my appreciation you then walked on a little swifter to me closer and closer. Today you appeared just when I thought I had almost forgotten you. … and just when I thought you had forgotten me for sure. You appeared though my hopes were

shrouded like ancient women at a funeral. You were dead and arose again .

You were a mere flash of my mind granted (again) flesh and warmth and breath and warm skin for me to perhaps touch… yielding lips to kiss and a quiet voice to repair my fragile crystalline mind.

That morning was unusually warm for early spring. A fog drifted idly in a ribbon along the insistent and persistent ice of the snow feed stream. The fog formed a misty line, looking as if drawn in oils by

the talented dabbing hand of a master artist. The stream strayed off as far as I could see and then out of sight where it cut between two gray hills with trees that had only the adolescent stubble of tiny leaves. zx

In the valleys where the sun hardly shines The snow melted unceremoniously in the changing-to pink-to-yellow-to-white-light-blue-sky intensifying sunlight. You walked over the wet grass into the middle of the front yard and stood stationary as if lost in thought, perhaps unsure but driven to me by some primordial instinct . I held my breath. “Come to me,” I whispered to your image I could hear the dripping of dew from the naked-warming-slowly branches in the back wood lot. “The trees are laughing because the snow is gone,” I thought , Their sleep is over.

Spring rain has awakened them
And their tiny buds aim skyward and absorb the sun Soon they will spread as an eager maiden And receive the sun light and warmth

“Come to me,” I urged I a whisper. I moved my lips to make those words but am not sure if I actually spoke the words. No one morns the passing of the snow.

It’s here for a while and then it goes away for long hot seasons. It is loved at first, then taken for granted until one gets tired of it. But now even in April, it might snow tomorrow. In Vermont, no one is ever sure of a particular snowfall being the last of the year until perhaps July. No bells echo down the valley for the funeral of that cold glistening whiteness.

There are no final funerals for snow No closure. No condolences. No tears. No

fragrant bouquets to soothe the senses.

You were there in the front yard staring at the door of my houseI thought you come and go, go and come like snow but without the regularity of seasons. When you go away, you blanket the world And take the colors with you And make the world black, white and gray.

I stood in the window watching you come to me

And you – Your weather is New England’s. You have your seasons but without the comfortable reliability. And you come as in the infancy of spring You have not forgotten how to be reincarnated For too long you hide from me like a child. Then something happens to you… And you come home. (Then perhaps the nor’easters of your soul spin for a while in some deep cold part of your mind that will not be warmed and tamed) and you go away, perhaps forever… I never know if it will be weeks, months or years or forever.

Sometimes I feel I am a immobile rough hewn statue Of jagged ice and you come to me with gracious and creative warm hands

and you smooth away my sharp edges. You sculpt me into a masterpiece. That is how you make me feel. You are a fine artist with most talented hands.

It is strange how you go away, then appear like dawn at midnight and give yourself so completely to me as before Then you leave To a place with no address. When I kiss you, I remember and always say to myself With silent suppressed surprised delight, Yes, that's how your kissing was. Not quite as I tried yesterday to remember it. Oh better, much better.¶ You are softer than rainbow rain, warmer than the feeling of down quilts thrown over me on February nights at two o’clock by someone who loves me. in time too far away -

Each time together is the first time so it seems. but the last time perhaps.

I take off your clothes like a child unwrapping a present,

but slowly, gently. And you watch me Fascinated like a giver pleased to give. I love you.

We never did just take our clothes off and jump into bed. I would kiss you and you would sigh like you were never before kissed. I always touched you everywhere In all your hidden places until clothes got in the way. Slowly - always we undressed each other tossing clothes out of the way like children laughing at silly inhibitions. Often, naked we would dance slowly .

Often we both were very aware that we drifted back in time to enchanted teenage places when love was brand new and startling. "Do you remember..." you would ask like you were saying a prayer," ...the time we went to Nauset Light beach on the Cape in the storm?" (Of course, I remembered everything of that occasion so I said)

"And we defied the lightning and walked the beach at the edge of the breakers."

We felt fearlessly immortal.

We felt like together-forever-summer As constant and powerful as the waves that rolled with delight upon finding at last warm sand.

Without breaking the melodic cadence of the incantation you continued, "And then the warm rain fell. You said it was our baptism." I said “Remember how it washed away the sand and salt water mist and we licked the rain from each other’s bodies." (I do remember thinking that I was glad of the rain and the salty spray, because there was no way you could tell my tears from the raindrops. ) because…. Underneath it all, deeply inside, even then some part of me was saying that autumn followed the eternal summer. Then and there in that summer - In my mind I was seeing that beach as it would appear to me alone in winter -sand covered by snow made sloppy by salt spray.

Into my farm house you came straight into my arms without a word. Today in a misty dream where nothing existed but us. We lost track of time. We were not anyplace here or there or then or now but every-place where we had been before That's what we do to each other still. Your breasts are always softer to touch

after months or years of neglect.

(When you are gone, I unfold and touch the petals of fragile flowers in your honor.)

My eyes always dwell on your gently stark shapes. Sometimes (I can't help it) I find myself memorizing, staring at your eyes, your nose, your lips, your arms and legs, your breasts -- I stare at…. every curve and contour of your here-now body because I know you will go away again ... perhaps this time forever.

Countless times in bed alone, I try to remember how it was that your wispy fingers teased me. I try to picture your lips when I bend to kiss you. I can always fleetingly see your face but just as I am about to recreate you in my imagination, your image stuns me like… just as if … I woke up and…. The dream is broken

How can I explain? It was like one day in winter … I stood on the snow covered upper pasture on a frigid winter afternoon - 4:30 and already getting dark.

I stared out over the curved meadows that sloped to the frozen stream…

Everything was indistinct in dull grayness… And then abruptly the sun shined through a break in the clouds. It felt like a sudden warmness was about

to caress my back like your hands. There was clarity for a moment but then my eyes were blinded by the intensity… I squinted against the brilliance but then… Black clouds slid in closing the crack in the dome of dusk and .. the light was gone.

That is our story. (Light-Dark Hot-Cold Begin-End And too much time in between.) Sometimes the light melts the images

in my imagination. I struggle to keep images and I try to kiss you, and am disappointed you are not there. Yes, sometimes in dreams, I hold you closely and you are there. I am about to kiss you and then damn it I wake up and try desperately to return to the dream. I curse the noise that woke me up. I curse the sun and its interfering light. I try to recall the dream, to go back, but it is gone. Every detail, every feeling that I can’t remember torments me. I struggle to remember some little detail, something to lead me back. But no, I am grasping at rays of light.

Rain falls on the water color masterpiece that my mind is in the midst of painting.

And helpless I watch I cannot stop the November fog and rain.

Each time you come, I think I will forever-remember every movement of your hips, your tongue, your talented hands ... How could such wonders be forgotten?

But each day drops another cold veil Of more opaque snow across your face.

When you arrive, suddenly you are not just a memory anymore though I know you will go away again and become a memory again. Each time you come, your kiss-anew provides me with months of now and then new fresh memories to create Spontaneous flashbacks now and then to enjoy. Yes - for memories, I don’t have to dig so deep, but How the dark big-ole-cold winter months-especially dull and fuzzy up the details.

Sometimes, I look out the window and remember the successive frosts of Autumn that cover my green lawn with layers of leaves.

The red maples are the last to go and their broad warped leaves cover all.

Naked branches let the sun shine on me and I should be warm but earlier and earlier in the afternoon the sun casts long cold shadows – cold fingers that touch your back and make you shiver Yes, and the nights are darker and last fifteen hours. It is a longer night when you are alone.

When You come, I say “I'll write it down,. I’ll write down all the details of our love-making and everything we said that made us laugh together, but I never do. Words are trees that lose their leaves when the cold freezes only the sap that hesitates to hide in the frigid ground. Words are bodies dead on arrival,

or worse words are skeletons of what used to be

They mock the sacred memory of the once-beautiful moments. Words are too gross to express the sacred. I have no photos of you.

“I'll take your picture,” I say to myself sometimes but you won’t let me. It always has to be enough that you are there. The only picture I have of you is your yearbook picture And the picture that appears and disappears spontaneously as a flash in my mind, I never know when and why I suddenly think of you But it is often and sometimes I think Always Always you are there wherever I am. I torment myself wondering….. Do you think our time together is a treasure to be taken out and appreciated only once in a while? Do you think our love would not be so valuable if we spent it wantonly for a long period of time? Do you think the romance would burn and consume itself if we let it be wild? How could you think I would tire of you, tire of hugging and kissing you? In darker moments though, I fear you are right. God forbid that kissing you would become routine. It is everything but routine. But the cost of loneliness and wanting is high.

Once out of the clear blue I asked you why you come to me

And you said, "Because I ... Because you ...." and then you stopped speaking and stilled my mouth with kisses that I did not want to question. I do not question kisses. “And why do you go away,” I ask. You never explain and I do not understand.

Sometimes I even entertain the thought that you will come and stay forever but something in me remembers that your shoes are always by the door, and when a certain time comes, I wake up and the shoes are gone

You have left at times even in the midst of blizzards leaving brief footprints on the path to the road and on my mind. When it's time to go, you're gone. You always seem to walk faster when you leave and your steps are heavy and deliberate. I have watched you leaving. You always look back ... So far, you always look back, but someday you might not.

I never know.

On early November New England Sundays, I sit before the window and watch the snow slowly cover the still green fields. Slowly the distinct edges of the stone walls are rounded off in blurry wind curved strokes ...and the descending sun colors the landscape in all colors from yellow to pink, then black, gray and white. I want to see your image emerging from the falling snow. And I await your return clinging more and more to the last smooth images of your magic body that is like no-other-distinct-stark-nakedness.

I try to imagine what it was like when you came, what it will be like if you ever come again. If you ever come and go again…. Dancing to me with wanton whimsy making footprints brief-just-as-spring in and out of the wildly flowering fields of my soul.

I think of death Someday I will not be there. There will be no answer when you knock on the door.

Or someday you will not come. It may not always be so….

So be it….. If it must be And it must. (No choice) Just so long And long enough.

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